How to Use Delicious to Organize Your Student Life
Have you ever finished a course and later wondered what was the name of that book you wanted to get around to reading? Can’t recall the brilliant tips you were given? Wish you could still find your readings? Can’t remember the tutor’s name anymore? Wish you knew what books other people had referenced in their assignments? Would love to do a refresher course and see what they teach new students these days? Well, it doesn’t have to be like this. You can keep track of it all – easily.
Don’t think this guide is just for students in formal education. Every day worldwide, many people are self-educating for current jobs or career changes. People also take short courses, seek out mentorships or sometimes employers offer some other form of education. Whatever your level or mode of study, this method of using Delicious bookmarking will put you well ahead of your peers and keep your valuable lessons easily accessible for the rest of your life.
Delicious is a fabulous web application which doesn’t get nearly enough attention. It is versatile, free and extremely powerful once you start using it effectively. Here’s a step-by-step guide to using Delicious bookmarking to keep track of everything you and your classmates ever needed to know for your studies.
Simple steps to using Delicious Bookmarking for study
- Sign up. If you haven’t used Delicious before, sign up and your old browser bookmarks.
- Tag everything. Think of a tag for your course and memorable tags for each class, topic and typical essay topics. These will be used across many classes. Also note your class codes and use the code as a tag for anything relevant to that class.
- Bundle it up. Create a Delicious tag bundle that includes all the relevant tags for your course, including the class code tags.
Note that for each tag, you can view everything that has ever been tagged by using http://delicious.com/tag/yourtag. This means you can see everything your classmates, tutors and lecturers have tagged with the class code too – and not just during your course. After your course is finished, there will still be people using this course tag – especially if you train your lecturers and tutors to suggest it to future classes. This means you can continue to be informed of useful articles, books, journals and quotes relevant to your qualifications long after you are finished your studies.
It’s quite worthwhile taking your time to introduce this system to your classmates, tutors and lecturers. The more people using it the better.
What should you bookmark?
Ideally, you should bookmark anything directly relevant to your course or class that either you or a classmate might be pleased to find one day. Always add information about why it was relevant. For example, “Tutor said this was a perfect example of poor website design”.
Start with reading your course material. Bookmark the following:
- URLs given to you in class notes.
- If books are mentioned (as required texts or extra readings), find the book in Google Books and bookmark the link (along with any reasons why it was cited). Ensure you note which pages were given to you as readings and why.
- Follow any links your tutors and lecturers give about themselves. Try to bookmark their website, Twitter or other public information which tells you a little about them, how they got where they are and what their focus is. This helps you to understand them better, understand what you need to focus on in your assignments and also to note what other career options might be available for you. It’s also a great way to remind yourself of the important names down the track for networking, your CV or other reasons.
- Link to journals and extracts of relevant articles.
- Read class forums and bookmark any links your classmates suggest is relevant.
- Bookmark links to professional organisations and future career paths mentioned in your course.
Don’t forget to use the class code tag and any relevant tags to indicate class topic, course topic, section in coursework, related essays, etc.
It’s easy to do this step at the very beginning of each class, before the assignment deadlines start looming. You’ll appreciate it down the track as you’ll have everything at your fingertips and an overall grasp of your class before you get stuck into it.
Building on your records
After the basic coursework links are bookmarked, it’s time to build on this and add your own links. You might like to keep some of the following private until after your assignments are handed in (so no one else in your class uses your best articles).
- For every weekly topic of each class, search for relevant articles and guides. Make sure everything that is taught in your class is bookmarked for later (found in various places online, not just in your course material). This keeps track of everything you learned in the class, plus it gives you a good start for essay bibliographies.
- When you search for items relevant to your essays, bookmark them also.
- If anyone is having difficulty with certain points in your class, find and bookmark relevant websites which answer their questions.
When you’re reading these articles properly, take a little extra time to note the things you will want to use in essays or find again later. Add this extra information to your Delicious description. For example, add complete quotations with appropriate referencing details. When you’re writing essays further down the track you will pat yourself on the back. Especially in your final year, when you can easily spot the quote you need from a bookmark of a first-year reading.
How to keep track of all the tags?
The Delicious tag bundle is a great start to keeping track of all the tags. With everything collected, you can see all the relevant tags clearly.
You can also get “meta” and save the bookmark for http://delicious.com/tag/yourtag so that you’ll never forget that everyone else’s bookmarks are easy to find too.
RSS is an excellent way to access your Delicious bookmarks. Remember two simple things:
- It’s possible to subscribe to an RSS feed of the class tag (that everyone is contributing to). Go to http://delicious.com/tag/yourtag and subscribe to the feed using the RSS icon.
- You can subscribe to a private RSS feed of either your class tag or your entire course Delicious bundle. This way, you’ll get all the private bookmarks too. To do this, look at the very bottom of each page and click on “Private RSS Feed”.
Also, see these other great MakeUseOf articles on Delicious:
- Delicious – Save/Share/Search Favorite Links
- Packrati.us: Automatically Save Your Tweets As Delicious Bookmarks
Now you are well aware of how easily you can keep track of all your study notes in Delicious, you should have a great headstart in your next course. Don’t forget to teach your classmates and lecturers. Share your success stories here!
Image Credit: Lcrward